So Young Issue Forty

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Inside Issue Forty, and alongside interviews with some of the most exciting new bands, you’ll find conversations with artists who’s relationship with So Young goes way back. Since disbanding Dead Pretties in 2017, Jacob Slater hasn’t stopped writing and performing. With new band, Wunderhorse, debut album, ‘Cub’ has been released to the world, and it feels like things are only just getting started. We catch up with Jacob on leaving school early, his deep respect for Fontaines D.C. and how Sinead O’Connor is the biggest punk out there. In New Orleans, new Rough Trade signings, Special Interest are gearing up to share ‘Endure’, their new album. Via zoom, with three quarters of the band, we delve into pushing forward, dance music, and how their music shouldn’t be perceived as activism. Staying stateside, Tacoma’s Enumclaw take our call for the second time. The “best band since Oasis” release debut album, ‘Save the Baby’ in October. They hope it’ll give them all they need to buy a van. We discuss their working class beginnings and the formation of the record inside. Back with the Rough Trade label, Gilla Band are preparing for the release of album three, ‘Most Normal’. Speaking with Dara and Alan, we learn of the influence that Missy Elliott had on their rehearsal motivation and how they strive to breathe intensity into the mundane. London’s PVA are going to release an album too. October sees the release of debut, ‘Blush’, a collection of songs which makes sense of the trio’s plethora of sounds and moods. We get pretty wholesome and put them on the spot to outline exactly what they appreciate most about each other.

Staying in the city, Hotel Lux are back. It’s true. Debut album ‘Hands Across the Creek’ will land in January next year and it’s been a long time coming. Following an offering of brownies, the band tell us about their relationship with producer Bill Ryder-Jones, getting out of a writing dry patch, and moving out of a scene and on with the times. Belfast born, London based, Piglet is the solo project of Charlie Loane. Tackling gender identity and mental health, the former Great Dad member speaks to us about escaping the bedroom studio and creating his new EP. Another solo project on our mind is Oscar Browne. Former member of Dead Pretties and current Broadside Hack, Oscar is finally making strides on his own. Following the release of single ‘Never Quite Right’ we meet to talk moving house, moving on from old bands and moving from punk rock to British Folk. Edinburgh newbies, No Windows, have just about left school. Forming through a shared willingness to cover Mac Demarco, the duo now create their layered dream pop with inspirations closer to Mazzy Star and Elliott Smith. We call for their first ever interview inside. We finish off this issue with two of our favourite new bands, Dog Race and Enola. Bedford’s Dog Race open up about losing members and triggering insomnia with a song about night terrors, and Melbourne’s Enola have Manchester roots, giving us the inside scoop on the influence of hearing Joy Division as an unborn child. Earlier this year, Graphic Designer, elahny was tasked with designing the sleeve for the first album on So Young Records, we dig in to the collaborative success story.

4 Hotel Lux Common Sense 7 Gilla Band Eight Fivers

37 Piglet it isn’t fair

13 Enumclaw Save The Baby

41 PVA Blush

18 Dog Race Terror

45 elahny Take Hold of Your Promise!

21 Wunderhorse Cub

50 ENOLA Strange Comfort

29 Left of the Dial So Young in Rotterdam

53 No Windows Shout

34 Special Interest Endure

58 Oscar Browne Never Quite Right

Hotel Lux’s comeback single, ‘Common Sense’ marks

Lewis: I only like Iced Coffee. I figured this out the other

the long awaited return of a much-loved band. This first

day. I don’t usually like coffee. But I went to Blackbird in

sniff of an upcoming debut album refreshes the familiarity

Queen’s Road Peckham - I know it’s been cancelled… -

of pub-rock rhythms and darting lyricism with a fragility

but they do really good iced coffee with vanilla syrup.

and determination that’s grown more potent with age. Our New-Look-Lux are unashamed to reach for a chintzy

M: I drink filter coffee, or espresso. What are you drinking

chorus, a plaintive melody, or an acoustic guitar, to expose


those vulnerabilities lurking inside relentless modern living. Theirs, almost uniquely, is a style which has a

C: I like a latte, yeah. I don’t mind a flat white. Oat Milk.

brutal knack of encapsulating the thoughts and feelings of London life when you’re broke and in your twenties,

Cam: I can’t drink coffee. It makes me not be able to see

fingers forever scraping at the bottom of the barrel.

for some reason.

To ease all this existential tension, I settled for a pint

M: That’s a really bad coffee selection as a group I think.

with the group at The Pride of Spitalfields in Shoreditch, That segues very nicely onto my next topic which is…

bearing gifts.

well done! I’ve heard your album, it’s really sick. I’ve So my first question is…would anyone like a chocolate

been listening to your music for such a long time, and


to see you finally achieve something you’ve clearly been working towards for so long… I’m just so happy

[Collective gasps of awe and wonder]

for you!

Max: Absolutely! I’d fucking love a chocolate brownie.

L: I’m so excited to finally get it out. It will also be partly a relief, I think. It’s been there for so long. We recorded it

Craig: They’re not space cakes are they?

over a year ago. It’s not just that we’ve been a band for so long, we’ve also had this album for so long.

Lewis: I’m still full from the curry. Was it a curry? C: We wrote it during the Summer of covid. So [the songs] M: Nah. It was a West African Peanut Stew. God, that’s a

are two years old.

good brownie y’know. It’s as soft as anything. L: I hate the songs already! Heads up, I wrote these while I was at my cafe working today. Next question. What’s your coffee of choice?

Words by Elvis Thirlwell, illustration by Claudia Bernardi


I’ve just written here “Bill Ryder-Jones”. He produced

C: He called me a cunt. We were standing outside Bargain

the album, right?

Booze and I’d dropped my cig butt on the floor and he was like, [Scouse attempt] “There’s a fuckin bin right behind

L: I worked at Dr. Martens with Brooke Bentham.

ya! You lazy Cunt!”

She’d done her album with Bill, (they’re on the same management so they’re quite close). I thought, “maybe

L: It was a great experience. You kind of forget when

that would work with us?” I didn’t know what he’d think

you’re with him, what he’s done.

of it. We got quite lucky to be fair, ‘cause it was covid and he wasn’t very busy.

M: He’s a bit of a wizard. He pushed us to take things in different directions. Add other ideas. He brought a

C: He didn’t seem that keen at first.

personal element, added his own bits as well.

M: We had a two-day trial period.

Sounds like he brought a few things to the table! Let’s talk more about ‘the table’. It makes sense to me that

L: He’s big on relationships. He’s done things in the past

Bill would work on this album because, compared

where he hadn’t gotten on with people, and he didn’t want

to what you’ve released before, there’s a lot more

that. He wanted to see whether it would work. It did, I

vulnerability on this record.

presume, because he wanted to do it. It was amazing, doing it with Bill! The best thing he had in the Studio was

L: Because it was lockdown, there was nothing else to

man management. He knew how each one of us worked

write about other than myself! It was usually story based

to our best, to bring the best out of us. You’ve got a good

stuff [in the past], but nothing was happening! It took a

story about that, haven’t you, Cam?

long time to write it. I remember messaging our manager Sam being like, “Sam, I honestly don’t know if I can ever

Cam: I hadn’t really learnt my bass parts for one of my

write a lyric again!” There was a point when we were

songs. I was really nervous in the studio and literally

trying to write the album where we were very stuck.

couldn’t get the take down. So he basically told everyone to fuck off and go for a walk. We shared a bottle of wine

As you’re the first band I’ve interviewed twice in the

and had a chat, and he gave me this unreal pep talk about

history of my life, I want you to go back in time. I first

how when he was in the Coral, he had a similar thing.

met you four years ago and you released your first

Then I laid down one of the best basslines I’ve ever done.

single a year before that. What do you think are the

It isn’t a very big list, but it is up there!

major changes you’ve witnessed in the music industry during that time?

L: He was really good with you [Craig] as well, because he could tell there were certain parts you didn’t quite trust

Cam: The landscape’s definitely changed. We came from

yourself with. He took the piss out of you a bit, but I think

a part of the landscape that was Post Fat-Whites. There

that kinda helped you.

was a lot of sleaze and darkness. Now it’s changed and evolved - which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I feel like

C: I’ve always been quite nervous in the studio, but he

people want more precise music, a lot happier music as

made me feel at ease a lot of the time.

well. We’ve never really worried too much about that, but we feel our music has moved with the times.

L: You always hear about these blunt producers, but we’d never actually worked with one.


Hotel Lux

C: Back then we were trying to hop on the zeitgeist, but

Now we’re going to get down to business… wait, I had

we’ve found our own sound now.

another question. No, fuck that question. England in the World Cup. What are we saying?

L: Initially when we moved here, everything was more C: I’ll be annoyed if we’re not at least in the semis.

tight-knit because everyone was smaller. You had that ‘thing’ that was happening - HMLTD, Shame, Sorry, etc. Everyone was friends, then everyone got big, and

M: [sighs] yeah… I don’t know… I’m not overly

everything expanded. That might exist now, but now we’re


just floating within everything. C: It’s gonna be an interesting one. Sat in the pub with the Have your tastes changed?

fire on watching the World Cup…

L: There’s always the set bands that will always be there.

Cam: as if we’re gonna get to sit in a pub! It’s hard enough getting a seat when it’s sunny outside. It’s gonna

C: What I’ve always liked about our stuff is that there are

be pissing it down.

those common genres, but there’s always quite diverse C: Not gonna lie, I reckon they still will be doing Beer

influences as well.

Gardens, but with heaters. L: I said this when we did the biography the other day, how big an influence ESG ended up on the album, despite

Cam: It will be like the worst Oktoberfest ever

the fact… L: We will win it obviously. C:... You hate them! C: What was the question you were gonna ask, I’m L:... That I never got that into them.


M: Just playing for a long time, you get bored of what

I was gonna ask about what advice you’d give to a

you’re doing. Not necessarily [bored], but just that

band starting out now?

progression and development, trying to add other things to keep yourself interested.

C: Ah, don’t bother. Get a real job.

@ g lavdja


Oh, Gilla band (NOT Girl Band, you cretin).We have

How’ve you guys been? Obviously there’s been a

missed you. The blueprint for so much, particularly on the

certain amount of hiding away, but it’s been a long

harsher end of the post-punk spectrum, and rightly so.

three years from the last album. Welcome back.

After exploding back in 2015, the road has been anything

Alan: Obviously things have been strange and horrible in

but simple. Brushes with pretty much anything you can

a lot of ways, but creatively it’s been quite fruitful. Myself

imagine (which I shall not dedicate words to here) have

and Dara both got recording software and were able to

often threatened to distract from their key message, which

write at home. As a band, we gave up on going out to any

is music of a near-maniacal velocity and intensity.

pubs or clubs, and were just down at our rehearsal space the whole time. I watched this interview with Missy Elliot

Changing from ‘Girl’ to ‘Gilla’ (obviously) divided

and Timbaland and they were like ‘all we do is just go

opinion online, but the band are remarkably relaxed about

down to the studio and hang out there’ and I was really

it - showing a comfortable disinterest in the frenzied

jealous of that! So we started doing it, and it’s been great.

opinions of the terminally online. What a blessing, to find a group at the peak of their powers, yet so genuinely

Tell us a bit about the writing process behind the new

content to move only to their own barometer. Musically

album - you’ve spoken before about needing to be all

also, they come across as hyper self-aware - they know

in the same room to write, but surely that hasn’t been

exactly who they are and who they’re trying to be, and

possible this time around?

are thus able to continuously push the boundaries of what Gilla Band are, without ever needing to vapidly reinvent

Dara: It’s been really different this time around. There

themselves in a grab for an increase in Spotify monthly

have been moments where we could and that was great,


but in general we just invested in loads of recording equipment and just been chipping away at it. Instead of all

New album ‘Most Normal’ is a corker, and sees the

being in the studio at the same time, things like the guitars

group evolving in scope and breadth of vision and

were done at completely different times.

instrumentation, yet retaining their trademark deadpan impressionistic lyricicism and screaming sonic structures.

A: There were always at least two of us together, asking

This ain’t easy listening, but when has anything easy ever

stuff like ‘how about that kick sound, if it disintegrates

been meaningful?

like that? Ok, cool - what can we put on top of that?’ Whereas before there’d just be a beat and we’d all just

We caught up with Dara and Alan to discuss album

play on top of that. We were layering as we went, whereas

number three, musical narratives on a record, and whether

this felt a bit more considered, having that separation.

they’re feeling the pressure of a return.


Words by Dan Pare, illustration by Yulia Drobova

What really strikes across the record is that melding

A: With the name change, it was a decision we all arrived

of some pretty out there sounds, with real mundane,

at individually at different times - there was no sit down

impressionist lyrics. What is it about that juxtaposition

moment of deciding. We just did what we believed was

you guys find so interesting?

the right thing to do, and we’re glad we did. If it was some grand marketing ploy, it’s a pretty awful one. It’s just a

D: It kind of cancels each other out, there’s a balance to it.

name, musically the album wouldn’t be any different had

If you have a really heavy song and really heavy lyrics, it

it not happened.

can only work in one world. But if you balance that with something else, it can add a different meaning, or make

Kicking off soonish, you’ve got a decent amount of

the most mundane of scenarios super intense.

touring going on. Your live shows are integral to Gilla Band - what’s the balance of excitement versus

And is that balance something you strive towards when

apprehension there?

writing lyrics? I remember around the time of your last album, you spoke about the extreme attention to detail

A: We’ve done a lot of shows this summer, a lot of

in your lyrics.

festivals - they’re really fun, but you don’t get a soundcheck, you don’t get to settle in - so I’m looking

D: It’s been happening kind of gradually - I like the idea

forward to touring because you get some more of

of documenting where we are, or where I am at that time

that. We’ve got a healthy amount of shows but it’s not

on an album. I’ve always been fascinated by that, those

ridiculous - a week and a half here, a fortnight there.

mundane little phrases or place names that kind of trigger

Playing some cities we’ve never been to in Europe too,

something in my head which makes me say ‘oh, that was

which is cool.

then’. It feels like there’s mounting pressure for bands I feel like ‘Eight Fivers’ is such a great summation of

to put out a release -or something - every year, lest

what you were trying to get across with the record -

they be forgotten. You’re a band that seems to have

can you tell us a bit about the subject matter, and what

sidestepped that obligation, with it nearing on three

informed it?

years since your last. Do you feel a pressure, now it’s time to return?

D: There’s an Irish comedian called Tony Cantwell, who if you’re a certain age in Dublin is an obsession. He did an

A: Maybe everyone’s forgotten about us, I don’t know!

episode where he talked about having loads of shit clothes,

Rough Trade are great for giving us space, they really give

and buying that super cheap fast fashion - and it’s true for

us the room and the time to create - it was more a personal

me also, but I’m weirdly quite proud of having loads of

thing of ‘let’s get the record out this year and aim towards

shit clothes. Also, I mention some shops which are very

that’. I think trying to play the game and grow the band or

specific to our region of Ireland, so that’s a nice nod to

whatever isn’t going to happen.

that. In terms of growth though, this is your third album. Do Looking back at interviews you’ve done previously,

you try to frame your recordings within the context of

I’ve really enjoyed your willingness to not lean into

the previous? Or is it very much a standalone approach

set narratives. With that in mind, you’ve changed

to each?

the name of your band pretty recently, which a lot of people were keen to have an opinion on.


Gil a Band

A: I think the records inform one another. You’re either

A: We had some newer instruments introduced, more

trying to continue on or do something different. We’re

organ - lap steel on a lot of the album also.

very conscious of trying not to repeat ourselves, and there were moments with this record where we were like

D: Also, this is the first time we’ve really explored

‘shit, we’ve done this already’. For us, it’s all a case of

different vocal effects, they’ve been quite straightforward

opening different doors and exploring the options behind

on the last two albums but we’ve distorted a lot of them

them as opposed to tearing it all down and trying to create

on the new one. The hope would be to build a pedal board

something completely new.

for vocals - that feels like untouched territory in a way. So far it’s been really fun.

You mention different options - you’ve spoken about the overproduction of modern hip-hop being quite

A: I think on ‘Talkies’, having it all in the key of A was

informative of the record?

our way of keeping it all within the same world and have all these self referential points. We tried to do that again

A: I think a press bio will always blow stuff out of

on this record with a pitched vocal thing which was very

proportion, but I think we were saying ‘Some Rap Songs’

inspired by Standing on the Corner, hyperpop and stuff

by Earl Sweatshirt was a real big influence in terms of the

like that - it’s fun adding elements of continuity through

sequencing on that record, the really heavy handed filter


sweeps over the whole track, or the muting of everything before coming back in. There’s no subtlety - it’s really like

Is that ‘musical narrative’ of sorts something you think

‘yeah, that’s happening’ which we wanted to take from,

about when creating something longer form?

as opposed to deciding we wanted to make trap beats or whatever. We’d fail miserably.

D: Definitely. We did it for the last record as well. On the first one also, we cut out all the names of the tracks and

There must be days where you do feel ‘oh, I’ve taken

moved them around on the album.

this as far as it can go’, so keeping those doors open like you say must be incredibly invigorating.

A: I love those hidden Easter Eggs on an album, and I think it’s such a simple way of making a record feel like it’s within the same world, when you start noticing different sounds coming back again.

@ y uliadrobova


Spliff with Botoño Sophie Vallance Cantor - @im_na_naina

Window Plant Gavin Shepherdson - @shephg

Plant 10 Taehyoung Jeon (Maria) - @marimarijeon

Relaying a beaten path for a blossoming future, Tacoma’s

As soon as we had those, it was easier to fill the middle

(Washington) Enumclaw burn with a hunger for world

and make this cohesive picture.

domination. Revelling early success with the likes of singles ‘Fast N All’, ‘Jimmy Neutron’ and ‘2002’, this

And can you tell me what this picture looks like?

indie outfit are ready to drop their debut album, ‘Save The Baby’. Powerful, yet candid lyricism cycles through

A: I think it’s about growing up. Having to look yourself

the streets of Pacific Northwest guitar tones. As it rains

in the mirror and decide if you can be okay with who you

down with nostalgia-inducing notes of ‘90s rock, there lie

are and the choices you made in life. It’s about asking

puddles of open vulnerability layered within. Roadblocks

yourself where life is heading, and if it’s not going in the

of race and class discrimination continue to propagate

direction you want it to go, do you have the strength to

around them, but woven deep into Enumclaw’s music, an

turn it around.

unstoppable bond between friends powers them through anything. Unionised, Aramis Johnson (Vocals/Guitar), Eli

When you started this band, what was it like to go from

Edwards (Bass), Ladaniel Gipson (Drums) and Nathan

what you were individually doing in music to changing

Cornell (Guitar) embark on this mission of rescue but

into the roles you each have in Enumclaw?

catch themselves on a journey of introspection. Nathan: For me, it was really fun. I hadn’t been in a band Your debut album is out this month! How does it feel to

for a couple of years, so I really enjoyed getting together

be putting something like this out?

with a new group of people and learning how to play off of each other. It pushed me to really rethink how I

Ladaniel: A little overwhelming!

approached playing the guitar, especially with Ladaniel, who was just learning drums.

Aramis: Yeah, I’m getting more nervous the closer we get to the date. I hope people like it.

L: I’ll say that for sure. I’ve never been in a band before — I didn’t consider playing the drums seriously until

Ladaniel: It’s exciting though!

Aramis came up with the band. You learn quickly that everyone has their own way of doing things. It’s easy to

When you were creating it, did you have a set plan for

bump heads with another person, especially with other

how you wanted this album to turn out?

creatives. You really have to give a little, and that’s hard to learn. So, just collaborating with other people creatively

A: I think all the ideas for the album started to form after

was a challenge in itself, I can understand how a lot of

a couple of key songs were down. Once we got started

people would give up. But, you just have to stick to it

with those, the rest was like putting together a puzzle,

right. If you really show consistency and there is that

you know? All of a sudden, there were these little corner

desire for it, you can get it done. You know what I mean?



Words by Will Macnab, illustrations by Cameron JL West

A: It’s similar to life and other relationships. You’re

In America today, what are the biggest things that seem

pretty much having to learn how to make space for other

to perpetuate these class barriers?

people and make sure everybody has enough space for A: Race is a huge one. There’s a lack of a well-rounded


education. Also, your media consumption has a level of N: I’ve been playing in bands since high school, but being

impact, right? It’s really some out of sight, out of mind

in this band was just a completely different thing. There

type shit. Despite social justice being more prominent, it’s

was this kind of moment where it just started to click.

even easier to turn a blind eye to the disparities amongst different classes. It lets things permeate in a way that

Yeah, from your sound alone, I can really hear that.

everybody can be a social justice warrior on Instagram and

So what was it like when you came together? Was it an

never have to interact with people who are in a different

easy thing?

class bracket, come from a different background, or a different race or ethnicity.

A: Honestly, when we came back after lockdown, it felt like we were a whole new band. I remember being in

N: Going off of that, the people you see the loudest on

Ladaniel’s bedroom practising and getting this goosebump

Twitter talking about whatever, probably have never had

feeling. When we were all playing together, I would think,

black friends, you know? The cost of living and the cost of

“fuck, something about this feels crazy.” I know Eli’s

education are also huge factors, that continue to get more

mentioned this to me before; he said, the first time he

out of reach.

came to practice, it just made sense! When we get in the room and we start playing, it just feels so right. It honestly

I see you guys always wearing these ‘Genesis’

feels like one of the easiest things I’ve done in my life.

sweatshirts. It’s a skate brand, right? Do you feel skate culture has had an impact on your music?

You consider yourselves a working class band. What sort of relationship do you think music and class have

A: Yeah, it’s a skate brand! Genesis is like our friend

with each other?

Ian, who helps out with a lot of the visual elements of the band. It’s his own skate company, with his own crew

A: There’s a lot of trauma that can come from having

of skaters. Yeah, they’re just our homies, and some have

a working class background. For me personally, I love

gone off and skated for Supreme, VIOLET, and Adidas.

writing these songs because it’s incredibly cathartic. It’s

The skate culture is very much wrapped around our crew

a way to really help me express myself. It’s something I

and our scene out here. More so aesthetically than the

reference a lot in my songs - this experience of having to

actual music, but there’s definitely a big skate culture

watch the people in your life struggle. When you grow

influence on what we’re trying to do. The style of music

up in the working class, it’s all you know. Music is all

we make is very prominent in skate videos, so for a band

about referencing different points in your own personal

like us, getting a song in one of these videos is almost a

experiences. For a lot of my friends, there is just an innate

rite of passage.

lack of understanding or an ability to grasp what it’s like to have gone without. Even from the financial aspect of being in a band itself! We still don’t have a van. Those are luxuries we don’t have, whereas there are a lot of others that do. I think we started this band because we’re going to take over the world and not have to go out and work stupid jobs.



N: Yeah, getting organically into a skate video is

I feel like that’s a pretty good supergroup right there!

genuinely one of the coolest things.

I would love to see JPEGMAFIA go up on stage with Drake.

You call yourselves the best band since Oasis, but, if you could put together your own super-band, made up

Okay, so one last question. You guys made a checklist

of anyone, who would be in there?

of goals for 2021 (and congrats by the way for checking pretty much all of them off). What would be the list of

L: Alex G is in there for sure. Dev Hynes (Blood Orange)!

goals for Enumclaw in 2023?

A: Oh, 100% Dev Hynes. Porches! I really like what he’s

A: Oooh, I definitely think a headline tour. Making it


across the pond and rocking a show in Japan.

Can we be in this group as well? L: To be honest, just getting ourselves a van, for sure. If you want to, you can put yourselves in there too. A: What else? Sell one hundred thousand records of this debut album! We would love to do all the summer

L: Oh, then I’m definitely going to say we’re in there.

festivals: Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, Reading A: I want to say Drake, but would he even fit in the

& Leeds, and Pinkpop festival too. A Jimmy Fallon

context of this group? Fuck it! I’m going to put Drake in

performance would be mental! But, to be able to pay rent

there. Why not? Ohhhh and I gotta put JPEGMAFIA in

by being in this band, I think that’s the big one.

there too.

@ c ameronjlwest


It is a fine line to walk between drawing on your

But it feels promising this time with the pandemic being

influences and paving something new. Dog Race

over and everyone kind of looking to get out there a lot

are a masterful example of this being done right –


experimenting with the classic elements of gothic in a way that pushes their sound into a new and intriguing territory.

How did it feel to have it recorded but not releasing to

Their astounding debut track, ‘Terror’, spent three years in

the world for so long? It was three years ago, wasn’t it?

an embryonic state, recorded pre-pandemic but only being released last month. It seeps with murky explorations

It was quite anxiety inducing, because we were like, are

of anxious paranoia, and introduces the world to the

we gonna have spent money on recording a single and then

refreshingly vulnerable and open voice of Katie Healy,

it completely flops? My brother said we need to release it

who we had the pleasure to ask about its release.

during the pandemic. And I said, no, if we’re gonna do it, I want to do it properly. Because we’ve all been through

So do you wanna talk a bit about the formation of Dog

so much personally that we just want to kind of give it a

Race and your history?

chance to at least get a couple of things out of it, or get some radio play or something.

So me, my brother, and my little sister used to be a band together and then we stopped that, because we all just

Do you think that listening back three years later, after

really fell out over it. And then when I was at uni in third

going through all of that, it felt like a very different

year at the time, and a guy that was friends with me and

song to you? Would you still have done it the same?

my brother was like, let’s start again, with the completely new stuff that we want to play now. And I knew Connor

I don’t think we would have - I think we would have kept

who was really into the same music as me. So we moved

everything the same. And I think it was, if anything, a

down to London, we started and he invited his friend in.

catalogue for the direction that we want to go down now.

And that’s about three years ago now.

With the musical influences that we’ve got at the moment, it just kind of like created more of like a snowball for us

We just played local shows in London for the first year.

to explore those genres, and those more niche musicians

And then in unfortunate circumstances, I don’t know if

from 70s and 80s gothic.

that’s the right word to say, fortunately, Connor left the band. And by that time, we found a new bassist and then

And the weirdest thing has happened, the weekend that we

the pandemic hit. During that year, we ended up going into

released the single. I wrote it all about my night terrors,

the studio in the depths of winter and we recorded our first

and the bad mental state I was in three years ago. And

single and then we were just like, what do we do now?

I thought great - I went on medication and I’ve had a

Do we release it? What do we do? We were just really

fucking great time. And then that weekend I had so much

confused and we were on a kind of hiatus anyway.

shit happening and since then I have literally had insomnia for three weeks. And I don’t know if it was a catalyst or

So yeah, it kind of started from there. And then now it

if it’s just that I just need to take a step back and realise I

kind of feels like we started again, with the same song that

can’t take on the world. But like to write a song about like

we’ve had tucked away for a while.

night terrors and not being able to sleep properly three years ago, and then to have that problem again, is really freaky.

Words by Eve Boothroyd, illustration by Melcher Oosterman


Do you think it was the vulnerability of putting that

And suddenly, where you’d be able to get help 20 years

out there in the world?

ago, now you’re literally on the phone going round in circles. So I completely see where you’re coming from.

I think it was, yeah, and I’ve had a lot of great stuff and

And it’s, it’s quite reflective I guess, in that sense.

shit stuff happen over the last three months. I guess it’s that when you feel like you’re on top of the world, kind

Your onstage performances tend to channel that

of keeping on top, and like not falling off. What honestly

anxiety and that sort of frantic nature, do you find that

did not bother me at all was if nothing happened from

the live performance is a central part of you figuring

releasing it. But I think just everything else that was going

out your sound?

from it just created this kind of like monstrous energy that I’m slowly just getting past.

Definitely, yes, I love the theatrical elements of it. And I really think it’s nice to see it with other artists. I love

I was going to talk to you about that because it’s a

Lynks for example, and it’s like they’re almost a caricature

very personal and vulnerable song. Do you think that

of their emotions and songwriting. I love that. I think it’s

the music that you make always has to be like tied

just part of my own songwriting process as well - to kind

into personal experiences? Do you find that that’s a

of feel that energy on stage. I’m not sure about yourself,

cathartic process for you?

but I love this whole performance and theatrical element, instead of just writing music, and then playing the music

Yeah, absolutely - I can’t write songs about anyone else.

on stage. It’s kind of just embracing characters, which

And I think that’s why I liked the kind of dark, new wave

I love. I just think it adds so much more to any kind of

of Gothic and I really embraced it. At the time when


we were starting out we were seeing all these post punk bands, who have such a political and cultural emphasis

Yes, it’s a kind of refreshing move away from being

on what’s going on at the moment. And when I tried to

almost too cool.

write that, it would sound awful. I just really, really doubt myself. And I thought putting myself in this box with

Yeah, I completely agree. I completely understand why

other people just did not feel natural at all. So when I

any artist would go on stage just to play their songs, but

moved away and started writing about my own personal

there’s just something even more vulnerable and powerful

experiences, it just came out. And it’s just an incredibly

about people that go on and perform in a way that is

cathartic experience for me, especially on stage. I just

maybe not completely socially acceptable on stage. But

decided that I can’t write happy songs - I can’t write

yeah, it’s, it’s really powerful.

songs about anything but myself… maybe that’s very Do you feel like you have a character when you go on


stage? Or do you feel like it’s just a part of you, sort of But in a way, it’s also kind of political to be so vocal


about mental health and things like that, it doesn’t have to be inherently tied to politics

It’s probably just like an extreme caricature of my own mental state, if I’m honest. I do kind of have to warn my

No, I completely agree. And I think like the experiences

friends that aren’t into any of that kind of music, like it

I’ve had do really mirror the mental health state currently,

is going to be a bit weird. It’s kind of a bit weird. But it’s

especially with this government at the moment. I wonder


whether it was a different decade, would I still be going through this? My dad was saying that the amount of crisis units and stuff has massively declined just because of the Tory leadership.


Dog Race

the new album 4th november

For Jacob Slater, frontman of Wunderhorse, there is

‘Brick’ by Alex G. I saw him for the first time at Green

nothing without the music. With a no-bullshit filter, his

Man and that song is totally different from everything else

songs are gritty and tense at times, thoughtful and mellow

he does. I’ve also been surfing in Cornwall, getting my

at others. Contemplation sits at the centre of his work,

head straight, trying to spend as much time in the sea as

whether reworking a phrase until it really says what


he means, putting himself in someone else’s shoes, or questioning why certain music captivates him.

Does surfing give you necessary respite from London?

What draws Jacob to some of his favourite artists? An

London really works for some people – it feeds them. I

essence more than anything – a mix of musical rule-

don’t mind being here for a bit, but after that I shut down.

breaking and authenticity that establishes a bond of trust

I’m just not built for it. In London, when you’re hanging

between the artist and listener. Take Sinéad O’Connor’s

out with other creatives, music is everyone’s focus in

public dealings with the Catholic Church and IRA, Van

some way. But down there, people do different things.

Morrison’s ability to replicate nature through music or Fontaines D.C.’s lyrical drama. If an artist can give the

Is that something you enjoy?

listener a window into their world, that’s the first step – something not as easy as it may seem.

My creativity needs a bit of space to breathe. If I’m looking straight at it all the time, it suffers.

For Wunderhorse, music gives clarity to feelings that may be difficult to articulate. Jacob grants the listener

Taking a breather from music, you played Paul Cook in

access, but with the reminder that a handful of the songs

Danny Boyle’s Pistol series. Has acting meant you now

performed live today were written a few years back,

watch films differently?

immortalising that familiar fire of youthful angst and selfexploration. Paired with newer music, the debut album

A bit…it hasn’t ruined films for me, but it’s harder to

‘Cub’ is a story of growth, tension and release – a dynamic

get lost in them. It does however mean you know when

that separates Wunderhorse from Jacob’s previous band

you’re watching something great, because you forget your

Dead Pretties. But is this world always told through his


eyes? Uncertain. Try asking again in ten years. In the meantime, perhaps the answers will be found with the help

Has anything recently resonated to this effect?

of his bandmates, or away from music completely in the depths of the sea.

‘Cinema Paradiso’. It’s one of my favourite films and it’s so beautifully shot.

Summer 2022 was one for the books. What did you get up to and what’s one song that summed it up?


Words by Poppy Richler, illustration by Julie Alex

Cook played drums in the Sex Pistols. Did getting more

Thinking about music from the 60s-80s more generally,

acquainted with the instrument influence the way you

musicians’ lifestyles were totally sensationalised. That

now hear drums or inspire you musically?

pressure to indulge in things apart from the music is one that’s carried forward to today. Can you see a

I don’t know if there’s been enough time to process. If it’s

world where that no longer exists?

going to influence me, it’s going to take more time before it works its way into the music. But it’s definitely changed

For me, I like that idea. It’s so easy to get lost in the other

how I think about drums. When people listen to punk

stuff. There have been times in my life when I’ve got

music, a lot say ‘none of them can play,’ but that’s not the

caught up in it – when you’re a teenager, you can’t help

case. Paul was such a solid drummer and so well suited to

it. As I’ve gotten older, I constantly remind myself that

the band.

I’m in it for the music. If other people want to do it, that’s fine, but for me it’s just about the songs. Because without

A lot of people see the Pistols as the epitome of punk.

that you don’t have anything.

Having immersed yourself in that world to play the part, how would you define that word?

Music is a form of self-expression, and for you surfing is too…

I’m not sure…I went through a phase where that was all I listened to. I hated school and left at seventeen. It was the

It’s an area of life where I have the freedom to fail and not

energetic quality and freedom that appealed to me at that

beat myself up about it. It’s always good to have an outlet

age. I don’t know how to describe it. I find it difficult to

like that, where you can fall on your ass and it’s ok. With

be specific about these things…

music, there can be a pressure – “it’s gotta sound like this, mean this” – and when that doesn’t happen for whatever

Thinking about how that music made you feel, do you

reason, you can fall into self-doubt. It becomes confusing.

think that essence of ‘punk’ has been lost today?

So I think it’s always good for me to go surfing, get away from life, eat shit and come out with a busted shoulder.

It’s tricky, because there are certain songwriters or

But either way, it doesn’t matter. It reminds me to have

characters in music, who you wouldn’t necessarily think


to be punk, but for me are the epitome of the genre. For example, look at what Sinéad O’ Connor was doing in late

Would you say the adrenaline you get surfing is the

‘88 to the 90s. Who she was and what she represented –

same as on stage?

that voice, that beautiful balance of grace and defiance – that’s more punk than anyone!

It’s a different kind of adrenaline. Live music can give you a real rush. It’s tense and intense. It’s all on you and

And look at Dylan when he went electric in ’65. That

the guys in the band – you have to get up and perform.

music is now considered classic. When he released

Whereas when I get in the ocean, especially on a day when

‘Highway 61 Revisited’ people hated him! They were

it’s big and scary, it doesn’t even know you’re there. The

baying for his blood, he was receiving death threats. But

adrenaline rush is coming from something that has nothing

he still went on stage and gave it 100%.

to do with you and doesn’t care about you. Whereas with music, all eyes are on you. There’s a lot more pressure – a

People were saying he was betraying the folk

different pressure.

community. He was no longer what people expected and needed him to be.

Everyone’s turned up to see you…

People were calling him Judas! It’s pretty intense when

You feel like you have to deliver and owe the audience

you’re called a prophet and the voice of your generation

something. But with surfing, if you don’t deliver, you’ll

at 21.

drown. The stakes are different.


uW n d e r h o r s e

You mentioned the guys in the band. What does each

It makes it feel like a weight off your shoulders. That’s

member bring to the table?

more what I meant.

Pete (bass and backing vocals) is pure precision. He’s a

Have you ever tried to find resolution through lyrics

real rock. I’ve known Harry (guitar) since we were 14. We

but ended up more confused?

both share the feeling that live music is an arena where you can let things out that may not be socially acceptable.

I remember reading a Dylan quote where he was talking

If we’re going mad, we know that Pete will always be

about how loads of people would ask who his classic

there. He’s so consistent. The backing vocals and intense

songs in the 60s were about. And he’d say ‘ah fuck I was

bass part are quite challenging as well and he’s so on it.

writing about myself!’ So who knows. Maybe in 10 years

Harry’s pure fuckin’ energy man. I’ve got a real special

I’ll look back and be like, oh shit. Maybe, maybe not. It’s

bond with him, we just bounce off each other. Jamie

an interesting thing to consider either way.

(drums) is just pure groove. Mr. Cool. Suave looking motherfucker who keeps it down. It’s really important that

My writing used to be all about me, me, me – as you do

people understand how vital the drummer is. There’s the

as a teenager. But then I realised other people are more

old saying – ‘you’re only as good as your drummer’. I’ll

interesting to write about. I like putting myself in other

have an idea of what I want the drums to sound like, and

people’s shoes. I don’t know why, but it seems more

he’ll already know what I’m thinking.


When Wunderhorse started off, it was more of a solo

Do you find yourself using “I” and “me” a lot?

project. We’re going to try and shift the focus back to a whole band, because I’m getting really bored of myself.

That’s interesting, I’ve never actually thought about which

It’s much better that way.

perspective I’m writing the songs from…

A lot of the songs off the new album were written years

Stepping into other people’s shoes allows you to view

ago. Do you feel like you owe it to your younger self to

the world differently. Has anyone’s music given you a

perform them as they always were?

new perspective on life?

I wouldn’t write those lyrics now. I’d like to think I’d

I remember the first time I heard ‘Astral Weeks’ by Van

write them better. Before we recorded the album, I tried to

Morrison. It sounds like a cliché but it changed the way

revisit the songs, re-write the words, but it never worked.

I saw the whole world. It’s a hard one to put into words

It always felt clunky. It felt wrong to change the songs,

because the nature of the album is transcendental. It takes

so I had to make peace with the fact that they’ll always

you to a place where words no longer have meaning.

sound like that. Hopefully people will understand that

It’s hard to articulate but I remember having this weird

those songs relate to me back then. ‘Leader of the Pack’

epiphany when I listened to it. I’d heard it before but

was written towards the end of Dead Pretties but it never

never listened to it. It was towards the end of Dead

found a home.

Pretties, and it gave me this realisation that music can be all these other things. It sounds kind of cringey but

You said that song is about “betrayal and getting

I started thinking more about the beauty of the natural

even”. Did you?

world, especially in relation to surfing. I was appreciating things in a more childlike way. As a child you’re so

Going out and getting even isn’t the best way of doing

present – little things make you so happy. What I’m trying

things…you can get into trouble haha. It’s good to use

to say, is that ‘Astral Weeks’ helped me rediscover my

music as a means to feel like a score’s been settled, or at

imagination which I think I’d been missing trying to be a

least articulate something.

punk. And I wasn’t!

@ j uliecesare


Appreciating the natural world is important when touring is such a big part of the job. And you’re joining Fontaines D.C. next month! In the past, you’ve praised Fontaines for their integrity as a rock group. What does it for you? Personally, I don’t believe a lot of the bands I see. There’s loads of great bands around, but I find that with many guitar bands, it’s a lot of noise. There’s a real intention behind what Fontaines are doing. Especially with their latest record – Grian’s totally found his subject matter. I feel like I’ve been given a window into his world, which doesn’t happen very often. It was those lyrics that initially caught me, but the music is very powerful too. You feel like you’re in the presence of something that matters – and that’s hard to do. They’re not trying to do that either, they naturally have this wonderful chemistry. More power to them. Instrumentally, there’s a certain drama that underlies it all. There’s something about them that makes you just listen. There’s a trust there. I remember my dad saying that with some artists, even if you don’t get what they’re doing initially, you’ll trust them to lead you down a path. Somewhere along the way you’ll get on board with it. Again, that’s difficult to do but Fontaines have done it. Thinking about life down the line, who would play you in a biopic? What about…maybe…umm…I’m so sorry I can’t. Now that you’ve acted before, you can play yourself? I’ll do an Eminem in 8 Mile. When you watch that film, you don’t think of him as someone who ages. He looks the age he’s supposed to be. Like what sorcery is this? I’m definitely ageing already. Aren’t we all.



Fly Agaric Ant Hamlyn - @anthamlyn

Jojo Danielle Bleached Print Kalisha Quinlan - @ali_quinlandave

Gavin Shepherdson - @shephg

Rotterdam’s Left of the Dial festival is a little different. Concern for big headliners and ticket selling incentives is replaced with unmatchable passion to provide a platform

With a line up that includes fresh faces such as Teeth

for brand new bands. Pair that with their creativity to be

Machine, Lime Garden, HighSchool, Humour, 7ebra,

somewhere helpful and artist friendly (look up the Merch

DEADLETTER, Divorce, Gently Tender, Folly Group and

Church), it’s the breath of fresh air we possibly all need.

many more, Left of the Dial will be full to the brim with new sounds.

Eager never to repeat a line up, and hungry to give its punters multiple opportunities to catch their favourite

We are chuffed to have been invited to take over a stage

new bands, Rotterdam is the most exciting place to be this

this year and we can’t wait to see you at Rotown on


Saturday 22nd October. Head to their pages to check out the full line up and grab your ticket.


Left of the Dial

Few bands live up to their namesake, but New Orleans’

Whether it’s the drifting groove of ‘Midnight Legend’

Special Interest are a one-of-a-kind anomaly for the

(featuring Mykki Blanco), or the howling club-rock of

history books.

‘(Herman’s) House’, it’s by all means necessary that ‘Endure’, despite its titular connotations, is an all-

An empowered mis-match of genre, cultural-reflection,

embracing, powerfully vulnerable, and riotous journey

and deep-rooted authenticity, the group’s critically

well worth taking.

acclaimed 2020 release, ‘The Passion Of’, was an anarchically hedonistic gift from the newly reigning

“We can all be Basquiat’s for five minutes, or Herman’s

champions of compassionate subculture.

for life” - ‘(Herman’s) House’ - Special Interest.

Fast forward to the present day, and 2022 sees Special

You’re just about to release your third album ‘Endure’.

Interest return older, wiser, and creatively stronger than

What does Endure, or the act of endurance, mean to

ever before. Due for release on the 4th of November via

you as a band?

their new label home, Rough Trade Records, the group’s third full-length record, ‘Endure’, is a subvergingly

Ruth: Pushing forward despite everything. Keeping on

stunning body of work dressed in mesh and latex bondage.

living amidst uncertainty and grief. Figuring out ways

Sexy, euphoric, and masterfully enraged, ‘Endure’ is as

to make the relationships and projects you care about

much an impassioned call to arms, as it’s an anthemic

sustainable in a chaotic world.

breath of fresh air from the sweaty dancefloors of This isn’t the first time the word ‘Endure’ has cropped

America’s “Big Easy”.

up - it also features in the hook of ‘(Herman’s) House’. Entirely self-produced, and recorded at HighTower studios

Harking back to the hedonistic glam of disco “Sweat,

in New Orleans, ‘Endure’ is a mean feat of affairs- an

Endure, Allure” is a triad of anthemic command.

eleven-track splurge of collective intuition. Engineered by James Whitten and mixed by Collin Dupuis (Angel Olsen,

What is it about dance music that commands such

Yves Tumor, Lana Del Rey), in ‘Endure’, Special Interest

automatic escapism?

create an immersive sanctity for the revolutionary in us all; scouring the underbelly of counter-culture to bring

R: When it’s really good, dance music engages the mind

together an army of pleasure-seekers, rebels, and musical

and body fully. Sometimes it can briefly shut down the


inner monologue in your head- the loops of anxious thoughts you carry around all day. And you are doing

Speaking to three of Special Interest’s quartered whole,

all of this in a collective setting where others are feeling

one-word springs to mind more than most- human.

similar things. Sometimes it’s not that deep though- you are just trying to have some fun and escape the drudgery of the day to day.

Words by Al Mills, illustration by Wei Wu


Maria: it’s frickin’ cool when your body responds

R: I think music can inspire people and offer catharsis…

unconsciously to music

but isn’t going to create or push a political movement forward. That’s an entirely different kind of work and I

Nathan: Agreed. Dance music is designed for physical

would never pretend that what we are doing is some kind

reaction, movement. A perfect track or blend can take your

of activism.

head to a much better place than wherever your physical body may be, whether you’re in your car or at the club.

I do think that distinction between cynicism that is

But at the same time, it’s not always just about “feeling

disempowering, and one that is realistic is really

good.” People are complex and come to the dance floor

important. It’s easy for people to label us as nihilistic but

for different reasons.

I think the worldview Alli expresses in their lyrics is just truthful.

It must feel pretty empowering? N: I think the best music writing has always been nonN: It feels invigorating for sure.


At times, this record feels like a step away from the

Could kynicism also be used to describe the collective

visceral darkness that ran through ‘The Passion Of’.

outlook of Special Interest?

Is there a specific headspace or collective attitude you embody when the four of you come together as Special

R: I wouldn’t say we have one overarching collective


outlook. Obviously there are certain shared ideals and ethics between us but we are all coming at them from

M: We’re really good at making each other laugh!

differing perspectives and backgrounds.

N: No? I think it fluctuates. I think we’ve grown a lot

M: I think interviewers keep asking us about a singular

personally and collectively throughout the duration of the

message to the world when actually, what we’re doing is

band and that our songwriting at least has evolved with

making stuff that is meaningful to us.

those changes. You’ve said that ‘Midnight Legend’ is “a love song There’s underlying industrial, art-rock undertones

to all the girls leaving the club at 6 AM, the ways we

to your sound that are reminiscent of the pioneering

numb ourselves because we all feel so isolated and

experiment of the late 70s.


In the Throbbing Gristle edition of the ‘Thirty-

Is the dance floor not a space for lost souls to both seek

Three and ⅓’ book series, the author Drew Daniel

escapism, and find their tribe all at once?

notes: “They are both stances of “disbelief,” but mere cynicism is negative, a withdrawal from politics

R: In my experience it can be both. A lot has been written

into private tranquillity, while “kynicism” is openly

about the ‘healing power of the club’ and I don’t dismiss

antagonistic, a radically engaged reaction to the

that but reality is more complicated. There are a lot of

collapse of meaningful options within the public

people in pretty bad head spaces just trying to numb their


pain. Clubs themselves are businesses which can have really bad labour practices or be staffed by total assholes

If kynicism seeks to meaningfully challenge through demonstrated action, is music the open call to arms? M: That’s a pretty big declaration you’re asking us to say yes or no to…


Special Interst

or both. It’s a messy world.

N: At its best, the dance floor can bring you euphoria and connection- whether personal, intimate or transcendent. But that’s not always the experience obviously. It can be very alienating depending on the scenario. How do you think your younger selves would respond to this album, listening back to it now? M: Baby Marf would be in luv. L-U-V Would you say this generational re-birth of freedom and club-euphoria, paired with the reality of the outside world (or even the morning after) has perhaps influenced, or impacted the way you approached the writing process of ‘Endure’? N: I think different types of dance music.. from disco to D’n’B, have shaped our taste and influenced our sound(s) throughout our band’s existence. For me, I do feel creating/curating an experience is important, both live and on the album. So in that sense, yes? There’s a decadence to your sound, but lyrically you’re tackling themes of political disarray and gentrification. Is it fair to suggest there’s an innate tie between music to dance the pain away, and creating a soundtrack to sticking it to the man? Do the two go hand-in-hand? It feels very human. N: Yeah I mean dancing has historically been controversial. I’m thinking about evangelical Christians burning rock records and the whole Disco Demolition Night in Chicago… It’s important to be celebratory. You can’t ‘just’ be angry all the time, you’ll go crazy. Where will the rest of 2022 take Special Interest? R: Well the album coming in November is the big thing. It’s been such an intense labour of love but we are all very proud of what we created and excited for it to go out of our hands and into the world. We will be on tour a lot for the rest of the year with shows in the UK, US, and a few spots in the EU. Hoping to see some people in the crowd singing along to the new tracks. N: Frankfurt apparently.

@ _ w ei.wu_


It’s quite often the case that the way things start out

Now I’ve got a label I can go to the studio and work with

aren’t the way they continue. For Belfast-born songwriter

a producer who has just made all the songs sound how

Charlie Loane, Piglet began life as a means to release his

they always should have been. There’s a few brand new

minimalistic lo-fi recordings, but has begun to evolve into

ones as well, so I’m very excited that that’s done.

a fully-formed project that fuses heartfelt indie balladry with experimental flourishes. While Loane is no stranger

How has it been working with fewer limitations?

to showcasing multiple disparate influences across his compositions, having demonstrated this in other projects

It’s been amazing working with Neil Comber, who’s

such as Great Dad and Speed Training, it’s this project

been doing additional production and mixing, as well as

where we are allowed into the purest and most personal

recording some of it. We took all the stems that I’ve made

sides of his songwriting.

in my bedroom, and then we’re like, “these are the ones that sound shit, let’s redo them”, and he’ll do it in two

Piglet acts not just as a vehicle to dabble with varying

seconds. There’s less time of me like Googling tutorials

styles, but for Loane to express himself through powerful

or wondering why I can’t find a good VST for something

lyricism that touches on themes of gender identity and

when there actually is a piano in the studio.

mental health. Speaking to So Young, we caught a glimpse into what lies in store for the future of the project and see

Is it sad to let go of the fact that you had complete

just how much is poured into the songs he creates.

control over it?

What’s going on in your world musically at the

Not really, I mean I’m writing new songs now and doing


it the same way I did. I’ll finish songs and then decide whether to re-record or if it’s good and we just need a

I’ve just been finishing off an EP at the minute. It’s getting

mixer. I find it really helpful having someone else and if I

mastered this week [raises fists in cheering motion].

felt strongly about something I could just say.

Apart from that, we recently had a show in Brighton with Solidarity Tapes, which are a group who put on fundraiser

Since the beginning of the project, it has become

events for various mutual aid and anti-raids groups.

less and less sparse, and the singles you’ve released since ‘alex’s birthday’ have gotten more and more

Is that all unheard stuff or is that going to feature some

full sounding. Is that something that you had always

of the things you’ve put out earlier this year and last

wanted to do?

year? I think if I were to make that EP now, I don’t think it It’s gonna have a couple of the singles that I put over

would be as minimal. It was more what I was capable of

the last year on it, but they’re all new versions of the

doing. It was the bare minimum of “everything’s in time,

songs because the process isn’t limited to just me in my

you can hear most of it, fucking great”. Now, I know that


stuff needs to be compressed, or if I get rid of one thing it’ll balance out more - I’ve gotten a lot better at it.


o Wr d s b y R e u b e n C r o s , i l u s t r a t i o n b y P a t T h o m a s

We’ve also seen Piglet get more experimental with style as well, and I wondered what you were absorbing at the moment musically? My favourite album that’s come out this year so far is probably ‘Aethiopes’ by Billy Woods. The production; the lyrics; I think he’s just an incredible lyricist. You listen to it first time and you’re like, “woah, this is amazing”, but then you sit down and read his raps and you can get further and further into it. There’s so much in there to look out for if you’re a big nerd. I’m also a big fan of Comfort, whose EP just came out. Their music makes me feel very excited about making music. I don’t know how much involvement you have with the writing of the bands you’re in like Leather.head or when you were with Great Dad, but because there are so many differences between your projects, how do you know when something is right for the Piglet project? Whenever I was writing with Great Dad, I was writing the words and vocal lines, and another guy Gabriel was doing all the production. We’d arrange it a bit together, but it was quite a clear split. We had a really specific idea of what Great Dad lyrics should be and shouldn’t be. At this time, I wasn’t really focusing much on the Piglet stuff, I was just doing it in the background, but it just happened that all the ones that fell into that category were a bit more personal. I guess you touch on a lot of subjects that are personal to you and those around you as well. How do you find it best to convey things that are quite sensitive topics at times? What’s your favoured approach of lyric writing? The majority of the time I note things down - if I think something’s a nice turn of phrase or I’ve had a small idea of a few words. I’ll go into those notebooks and pull out the common themes and stick them together. I spend a lot of time editing though - quite often I’ll go through three or four versions of the same sentence and argue with myself over which one’s the right one, and because of the nature of the lyrics being quite personal, I can’t really rush them.



You wrote in the bio for ‘it isn’t fair’ that you ditched that song a long time ago, but went back to it and actually didn’t want to touch what you’d written. Yeah, I initially wanted to take apart the chorus, because I thought the repetition of the line maybe sounded a bit whiny, even though being systematically failed by the government is a fucking reasonable thing to be whining about. I wanted to go a bit more into the politics of the fact that our struggles are all connected and that they’re not outlying scenarios that are unrelated to each other. I just couldn’t write anything that reflected it that well. I was talking to Caitlin who I play lots of projects with and is one of my closest friends, and when I said I was

There’s an implied theme of community within

thinking of changing the chorus she said ‘don’t fucking do

your music as well - you touch on trans and queer

that’, and she was so right, as she very often is.

communities, but also on communities based around supportive friendships and close bonds that you have

You released it in conjunction with the We Exist

with people. What do you value most about your

charity, and you’ve done fundraising stuff for Sister

involvement within these groups?

Midnight as well, and spoke about gigs with Solidarity Tapes. What is it about being involved in community-

For example, the community I’ve met through the

based action that is so important to you?

local mutual aid group, it feels like people understand that where you are in life and what you’re doing isn’t

When it came to releasing that song, I just wanted to try

a result of you being one way or another, but a set of

and raise some money for trans people on waiting lists. I

circumstances that we’ve all come into together in our

think things are really bad right now for lots of people in

separate ways. There’s a willingness to support each other

really obvious ways, and it’s really easy to feel suffocated

because we see that what we want is for the benefit of

by the fact that things seem to be getting continuously


worse. Whenever we can have those conversations in spaces like music venues, it makes me feel a bit better as

Aside from the EP that you’re having mixed and

well because you’re not freaking out on your own about

mastered, what other things have you got in the

the future.

pipeline? I think Piglet are gonna leave the country for the first time soon which we’re very excited about, but we’re also gonna do more shows in a few different places in the UK as well. I’m trying to write at the minute but I don’t think it’s going that well. You need Caitlin’s opinion. That’s actually so fucking true. She knows what’s up.

@ p atgthom


From their mysterious and much-talked live shows at

J: With a lot of the songs, we take an iterative approach

Deptford’s Bunker and Brixton’s Windmill, PVA have

to it. We make something and sometimes it’s really good

been the type of band that always seem to be one step

in its initial form, but a lot of the time there will be some

ahead of everybody else. Just when you’ve gotten used to

good stuff there but it still needs a bit of work. We will go

a certain phase of the South London three-piece, they are

back to it and keep doing different versions until we get to

already moving on. Those who thought PVA had reached

a point where the song feels ready.

their peak with highly anticipated debut single ‘Divine Intervention’ were proven wrong by 2020’s electrifying

Louis: Given the room that you get afforded writing an

‘Toner’ EP. Now, the trio sets new standards again with

album, we could play around with the question of what

their long awaited first full length ‘Blush’.

a PVA song sounds like, rather than just trying to write a song that sounds like a song.

There’s new, sometimes seemingly contrary textures on ‘Blush’, and new amalgamations of all genres between

Has your writing process changed now you’ve had a bit

post-punk, trip hop and techno. The album features lots

more time to reflect on songs?

of trademark PVA belters, some of them stemming from the band’s early days, but truth be told, it’s the album’s

E: We had maybe a year of ‘soft writing’, and then six

three-part epilogue stealing the show. Catching up with So

or seven months to put everything together. Throughout

Young, Ella Harris, Josh Baxter and Louis Satchell talk

that time, we played a lot of shows, because it was the

about the record’s refreshing closing statement and the

summer of shows coming back. Some of the songs were

way they’ve become more of a unit than ever before.

done sooner, so we started playing them live already, like ‘Untethered’, ‘Comfort Eating’ and ‘The Individual’.

You’ve had such a nice trajectory over the past couple

Some songs were almost ready when we took them into

of years, from your famed early live shows to your

the studio, some were a bit more work in progress. A lot of

Speedy Wunderground single and the subsequent EP.

the time with us, it starts from a groove, from us jamming

I was wondering what the significance of this album is


to you. J: I remember ‘Hero Man’ started when we were Josh: We were excited to present a whole body of work

rehearsing for a New Year’s Eve show, a house party that

and show different sides of us. One of the goals was to

we were playing. We were just using the SPD pad, not

bring all of our different ideas and influences together

the drum kit. We were playing ‘Sleek Form’ and then at

in one world. Sometimes there are opposing sounds or

the end we were jamming it. There’s this thing on my

moods, but we tried to find a way for them to make sense

sequencer that allows you to just hold a note. So I was


doing that, Louis was doing a B or something, and Ella was suddenly doing the ‘Hero Man’ hook. I could hear her

Ella: We had more time to allow songs to make themselves

faintly in the corner going like: ‘Can’t eat, can’t sleep…’

known to us. To listen back to demos and decide what felt

And I was like: what is that? Remember what that is,

good and what didn’t feel quite right.

that’s so cool!


Words by Dirk Baart, illustration by Ying Z e ng

L: I don’t feel like we’ve ever found the solution for our

I think that energy of quite raw creativity and

process of composing and songwriting. We’ve always tried

experimentation, of coming up with ideas during the

different routines. That seems to have been the solution,

process, was what we were trying to catch on this album.

to keep it fluid. If we were going to write a song and say: let’s write it like we wrote this one, then we’re losing

I was thinking about how closely the three of you

some kind of characteristics that that new song could have

interact and how you can’t distinguish your parts from


each other anymore, especially in the last couple of songs. And I don’t mean to pull that apart again, but I

The last three songs on the album – ‘Transit’, ‘Seven’

thought it would be interesting to ask each of you what

and ‘Soap’ – make for such a refreshing final act.

touches you so much or what is so special to you about

Suddenly there’s all these new tones and moods within

what another member of the band is doing in PVA.

the PVA universe. How did those songs come about? Ella, starting off with you, I wanted to ask you what touches you about Louis’ drumming in PVA.

E: We were talking about this yesterday and we figured out that these are our favourite songs on the album right now. It’s kind of a trinity. They finish the debut and lead

E: Because we spend so much time together, it can be a

you into what is to come. They open the world a bit, in

challenge to reflect on the sheer talent of Josh and Louis.

the same way ‘Toner’ opened up the world after ‘Divine

You get taken aback with two people who are as good

Intervention’. Those three songs hint at some new kind of

as they are. Louis’ musicality is astounding. His ear for

writing that we’ve been doing. That’s why we put them at

writing beats and top lines… His drumming is amazing

the end, as a kind of closing scene. They are so exciting

ofcourse, but he is great at writing basslines and synth

to me: those songs are us three writing together almost

lines and vocal melodies as well, so there’s a lot of that

completely. There’s so much of each person in each of

on the album that has come from Louis. Louis is the most

those songs. When I listen to them, I can’t hear what bit

trained out of us. It’s been so much fun to write with a

belongs to which person anymore. They sound like all of

really great musician and somebody who loves music so


much and is constantly submerged in music. He’s literally always got his headphones on. He’s got like 7000 playlists

J: They form the culmination of all the effort we put into

on Spotify, so you can just trust him whenever he makes

figuring out how we work together and how we meld

a suggestion, his suggestions always bring the best out of

all our ideas into one. The songs see us finding a place

a song.

where we all intersect. What is so cool about those songs is that we finished them both in the studio. We wanted to

L: I wish I could organise my life as good as I can

leave that space there. We weren’t 100% sure what the

organise my playlists.

songs were going to sound like, but we wanted to leave some wiggle room for exploration. For me, those were the

That being said Louis, I wanted to ask you what to you

songs that surprised me the most. I was like: wow, I didn’t

is so special about Josh’s singing and playing in PVA.

even consider that our music could be like this. It feels like a logical progression now, but I’m not sure any of us

L: So I’ve got an example in my head, it’s about ‘Transit’.

thought we would head into that direction.

That song was left towards the end of the recording process, and it highlights Josh’s work as a musician and

E: We really tried to use the studio as an instrument. It

a producer. We had a section of the song, an ending, that

wasn’t a bad thing necessarily if the songs didn’t contain

we were really confident with, but we didn’t really have a

the liveness of a show as much, as long as they contained

starting point.

the energy of the room we were recording in. The whole process of creating, mixing and producing can spark a lot of energy as well.



One morning I was walking down Pall Mall, and Josh sent through an updated demo where the song was just complete. I was listening to it walking through London and it was so dense and befitted to the song. When we are in a tight, sticky situation like that, Josh has the knowhow to get us out of there. Where I’m more logical-thinking, Josh opens up a bit more experimentation with the tools that he’s got behind the computer and keyboard. He takes our songs to a different place. So Josh, I think by now you might have figured out what I wanted to ask you. Which is what is so touching to you about Ella’s role in PVA and what she brings to the band for you. J: So much, it’s hard to pin down. Ella paints these incredibly absurd and emotional and fun images lyrically. Without those, our music would just be a collection of weird sounds that we are making. Musically, it’s been really exciting to see her conducting some of the sessions recently. So many interesting things happen when she encourages us to try this or try that. It’s been really exciting to hear her vocals changing and progressing throughout the process, for instance the singing in ‘Seven’ and ‘Transit’. More recently, we did a Maida Vale session and we covered Big Thief’s ‘Not’ and I was so blown away by Ella’s vocals. It was insane, she delivered such emotion to it and sounded so stunning. All three of us can do a lot of the different things that make up a band, but we all bring something specific to it. It seems to balance out in a really beautiful way. I find it so difficult to write lyrics and struggle to form imagery, and Ella is just like doing it all the time and writing incredible poetry. I feel really lucky that we get to work with Ella and that she brings that to the table. Louis: Did anybody record that? I need to play that to get to sleep. Ella: This has been the most wholesome interview we’ve ever done. Josh: We all feel very affirmed right now, thank you.

@ z ing_ y ingzeng


In August this year we released the first album on So Young Records, Gently Tender’s Matthew E. White produced, ‘Take Hold of Your Promise!’ Graphic Designer, elahny was tasked with creating the all important visuals to accompany the campaign which resulted in a series of icons, produced in close collaboration with the band. We caught up with elahny to get some insight into the process. Please tell us a little about your background, career so far and education. I’ve always loved drawing and art, but educationally speaking, I am a self-taught designer. When I was first getting going, I spent lots of time experimenting with programs just to learn how they worked. Then I started designing logos and doing a bit of web design, before moving into the realm of print, which is really where I want to be. One of the best things about design is you get to collaborate with other artists (musicians, writers, filmmakers) and help them realise their projects. How do you go about starting a piece of work? Does it start as a pencil drawing? What is your process? For this artwork, I started with pencil sketches, which I then refined on illustrator. There were two versions of the icon used on the front cover of the album. The first figure was a really hasty pencil sketch that took about 30 seconds. The second figure was a very laboured, anatomically accurate figure, that I took ages over. To my surprise, the band preferred the quick sketch, which is now the cover art for the album. I’ve found this happens a lot when drawing - the things which come out quickly tend to be the most alive.


@ e lahny_

Could you tell us a bit about working with Gently

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Tender, what was that creative process like? Inspiration is everywhere, but if I’m purposefully looking Working with Gently Tender was a really fun,

for material, I prefer to look at books rather than go

collaborative experience. Sam had a strong sense of the

online. I love the selection of art and design books in

personal philosophy behind the album and visual language

Donlon Books and the shop at Serpentine. Second hand

he wanted to use to communicate it. He came with a bunch

book shops can also be randomly rewarding - I got an

of reference imagery - folk symbols, fossils, art nouveau

incredible book called ‘The Shell - Gift of the Sea’ the

book covers etc. and we had a back and forth sharing ideas

other day, which has the most beautiful full-colour prints

for a while. We looked at everything from Celtic knots to

of shells.

Ram Dass’ ‘Be Here Now’, so by the time it came to start drawing, I had quite a clear idea of where we were going.

Did you have design heroes growing up?

What’s your favourite symbol that you produced for

Whoever made the chiller font on Microsoft Word was my

the Gently Tender campaign?

design hero!

I think my favourite is the main icon we used for the front

Does music influence your work at all?

cover of the album. The figure bending backwards is based on the Ustrasana yoga pose. When Sam first saw the

Yes. So much so that I have to be mindful of what I’m

drawing he said it looked like a camel under a sun, which

listening to because it can influence the look of the design.

is cool because the position is also known as the camel

While working on this project, I listened to ‘Take Hold

pose. I like that you can see it two ways.

of Your Promise!’ continually so I could fully immerse myself in the mood of the album. I think it has a really joyful, timeless sound.


You have a distinctive style, how did you reach this

Someone I discovered recently (by way of my mum) is


Moki Cherry (Neneh Cherry’s mum) who made these amazing psychedelic tapestries as part of her and Don

Style is interesting because it’s usually something more

Cherry’s ‘Organic Music’ collaboration.

obvious to other people! I’m not sure how I would describe my style, but I’d say I’m drawn toward quite

What are you currently working on?

chaotic imagery with lots of colour. The Gently Tender project was a really interesting counterpoint to that, as I

Currently I’m working on the branding and web design

had to reign in my desire to keep adding things and instead

for a Glasgow-based art residency called ‘Gush’, which

allow the symbols to stand alone.

invites artists to make work around the theme of fandom.

Who are the designers and illustrators you admire

What can we expect from you in the near future?

most? I’ve recently started screen printing. I love the physical The designers I admire tend to cross disciplinary

process of it, which is very refreshing after working

boundaries. In terms of graphic designers, I’m a huge fan

behind a computer. I’m hoping to learn how to print on to

of Bráulio Amado; I love the way he creates imagery by

fabric next, so perhaps you can expect some t-shirts!

abstracting forms he finds irl, and his use of colour and hand lettering is very vivid and energetic.


Fabric Rings by Demonstrations

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“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Perhaps one of the

All the planning behind it was a very considered decision

most famous quotes from one of the most notable boxers

that I’ve personally been working toward for a really

of all time. Muhammad Ali applied this to the context of

long time. And then there’s also this other spontaneous

his world-renowned and frankly unmatched ability in the

nature of things. Like when you put something out, you

ring, somehow remaining light on his feet yet able to KO

don’t know how it’s going to be received. So, I guess in

an opponent with a moment’s notice. Not only does Aussie

that way, it does feel like things are moving fast, but it’s

grunge outfit ENOLA’s front-person, Ruby apply this

taken me a really long time to get to the position to just

mantra to their own boxing training, but they also apply its

be putting something out. I’ve been sitting on music for

meaning to the very music itself.

a long time and with the change in the direction from the first EP, building the band around me and growing as an

Initially the DIY solo project of the Melbourne native,

artist by performing live, that whole experience really

ENOLA set out to render immersive, beautiful and often

informed what I’m making. It does feel very potent at the

haunting music from their bedroom, creating opulent

moment, like there’s a lot of things happening at once. But

tracks that sought to swaddle listeners in Mille-feuille

like, so just like, exciting, especially coming out of a long

layers of noise, toeing the precarious line between no

time of lockdown.

wave and grunge. However, with time and serendipity, ENOLA grew out of Ruby’s hands, instead branching out

So you mentioned that you’ve had this recent sonic

to numerous members who now perform live in the novel

transition, from bedroom indie soloist to grunge band.

collective that keeps the same name.

Both projects are titled ENOLA and they’re undeniably yours. Recently you released ‘Strange Comfort’ which

Born out of a love for the rise of Britain’s grunge

is your only song on Spotify. So what are your live

(sometimes gothic) rock in the early 90s, and a feeling

shows consisting of now?

that the Melbourne scene needed an injection of this, the second iteration of ENOLA was born. Completed with

Well, the thing is, we’ve pretty much got an album just

the atmospheric band joining Ruby on stage, securing

sitting there. And that album is quite significantly different

killer support slots and painting their grey-washed colours

from the first [solo] EP. Sonically, you can hear that it’s

over every Melbourne bar, ENOLA has embraced a new

my voice, but even the way I use my voice is dramatically

momentum that has been years in the making for the most

different. With the EP, I was just producing with Ableton,

driven front-person in East Australia.

just layering the instruments and treating my vocals almost like another instrument, kind of pushing them

In the last few months, you’ve got new management,

back with a lot of reverb. Now I’m a completely different

you went on tour with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

performer - they’re different projects. And that’s why I

and you’re releasing new music in a totally different

took it [the less recent tracks] down, not because I wasn’t

direction. Does it feel like a lot has been changing in

proud of what it was. ‘Strange Comfort’ has that more

the ENOLA camp?

aggressive vibe and definitely has more of a live sounding band. I’m really into shoegaze, grunge, 90s bands and

I guess it’s the meeting point of two things.

noise bands, so you really hear that in the music.

Words by Alisdair Grice, illustration by Spencer Gabor


I’ve never been to Melbourne — I would love to go.

You’ve kind of alluded that this is part of a bigger

I wanted to know about the scene in Melbourne. Are

project. Is there a good reason to be on the edge of our

you playing with bands that also take the influence


from artists like Joy Division and the 90s grunge of Nirvana? Or are you playing with bands that occupy a

The plan is, we’re just about to go on my first ever (sort

similar headspace?

of) tour. So we’re about to kick that off. And then when we come back, as I said, the album is done. And it’s been

Totally. There are pockets of more contemporary post

sitting there for a while. So I’ve been constantly writing

punk, noise and a bit of grunge. There are definitely those

and I’m feeling very creative at the moment. I’m planning

bands. But they’re few and far between. I’ve never been

on doing another few songs at the end of the year when we

to the UK, or Europe or really anywhere, so I don’t know

come back [from tour] and hitting the studio to do one or

what the scene is like there. But a lot of the bands that

two new tracks so I can put them on the album — so it’s

I’m really influenced by and I’m really looking towards

got a freshness to it. Then hopefully putting the album in

seem to be a more UK or European kind of thing. So we

the first three or four months of next year. I think we’re

do have bands like in that vein here, but they’re not as

really going to try and hit some bigger showcases, like

prominent. The garage rock and punk scene is really big,

The Great Escape and SXSW too. Obviously nothing’s

like the Amyl and the Sniffers sound is really big here.

locked in yet but it would be a dream to play them.

So what I’m making is not so drastically different that I can’t slot in on those bills. We’re all friends and the scene

It feels like ENOLA is on the cusp of something big…

is amazing. I wouldn’t say what I’m making is hugely popular here, but it’s not so wildly different that I can’t

That’s the unofficial plan. I live for this —this

slot in quite comfortably.

is everything I like. I’m sober, and I train like a motherfucker. I used to be a boxer and everything I

So it’s kind of against the grain, but you believe in it

do, I try to be the best artist I can be, you know? I feel

enough. You’re gonna make it happen.

like it’s an honour to be onstage and I just want to give people something. I’m training like six days a week on

That’s the thing. I’m getting probably the most response

the Stairmaster just sweating, and all I’m thinking about,

from the UK. I’m actually half English and I’ve never

honestly, is just trying to be a good artist, because it takes

been. My dad’s from Manchester and I’ve always had

a lot.

this really strong tie to that sound. You know, my dad left when I was really, really young. So I don’t really

Your live shows appear high energy, intense and feel as

have many experiences or interactions with him. But

if you’re part of something greater than yourself…

one positive thing I would say is that when I heard Joy Division later on in life as an adult, I had this nostalgic

R: When I’m on stage, I’m not going to walk off with an

feeling that it reminded me of my father. And that’s weird

ounce of energy left, I’m sort of desperate to move people

because I really don’t have many things associated with

in a way. So I don’t want to hide, I don’t want to be safe. I

my father. So I said to my mom, ‘this reminds me of him’

think in a broader sense, you ask yourself, ‘what can you

and she says, ‘that’s very surreal’, because your father

contribute?’ in your time here. Life is so short, and I don’t

used to play Joy Division to you constantly in the womb.

know what I can really contribute. But I think one thing

It’s his favourite band, he’s from Manchester and I think

would be to make something that moves someone in some

he was in a very similar area to Ian Curtis. There were a


lot of parallels. Hopefully it’ll be coming to the UK sometime soon too. You’ve released ‘Strange Comfort’, which is a really brilliant song. It takes you on lots of little interesting

I hope so. I really hope so. I mean, it will, it will because

twists and turns.

it I just believe it will and I won’t stop until it comes into existence.



There is always an added excitement attached to a new

You must have been serious about this from a

band when their demos arrive accompanied by the

super young age, Verity, if you were posting about

instruction: ‘please don’t share far and wide, for your ears

collaborating at fourteen. What was pushing you to

only…’ It would appear as though I instantly failed to

look for other musicians?

recognise this rubric, as the private streaming link’s play count crescendos through the roof as soon as I have the

Verity: I’m not sure… When I was growing up, I would

opportunity to press play. Over the course of the following

always tend to focus on something really intensely and

few days, No Windows accompanied me everywhere

being in a band just happened to be my main goal at that

throughout a busy weekend in London. Not only did their

point. I did a load of open mic nights when I was younger.

hazy, densely layered dream-pop sound match all my

But also, I couldn’t play instruments and so I needed

reservations for what constitutes fantastic music, but I felt

people to help fill that gap for me.’

as though I held a sacred secret in my air pods, a secret which I felt I would have liked to hold onto for a little

I read that your initial plan was to meet up to record a

longer than I was permitted. However, and as I hope you’ll

Mac Demarco cover, right?

be glad to learn, No Windows can now exist in your world too.

M: Yeah, although we never ended up doing it as Verity was just about to move at the time. Mac Demarco is not

Monday morning arrives, far too early as always. I

much of an influence on us now though, I feel like he’s

respond somewhat unsubtly to my trusty source: ‘Who

one of those artists which people tend to start with and

are they? Why haven’t I heard them before?’ And finally,

quite quickly move on from. But anyway, once everything

‘please can I interview them as soon as possible?!’.

settled down again in Edinburgh, we started playing in

A couple of days later, I finally met with Edinburgh

school bands, mostly covering tunes we liked, with a few

based duo consisting of vocalist Verity Slangen and

originals here and there. We did that up until lockdown,

multi-instrumentalist Morgan Morris for their first ever

where we then started writing separately. After the

magazine interview. I urge all readers, watch this space…

pandemic we linked up again, having just focussed on our own music. Eventually we just merged what we were

Morgan, you’re sixteen and Verity, you’re eighteen.

doing separately and that is what became No Windows.

How did the both of you meet and how was No Windows born?

So, am I right in thinking that in terms of your writing process, the composition comes first and then the lyrics

Morgan: Well, it started in high school. I would have been

follow after? I find that contrast interesting. Is that a

about thirteen and Verity around fourteen. We both started

dynamic you want to preserve?

to play music at the same time, and Verity was really the first person I came across who was doing a similar thing

V: That’s always the way we’ve gone about writing, and

to me. Even though she wasn’t in my year, and I didn’t

it’s worked really well for us to create music in that way.

know her personally, I came across her Instagram in an IT

Even though now we have the option to go about the

class and just decided to message her as she had put up a

process differently, we’re keen on sticking to how we

post looking for potential bandmates.

operated during lockdown.


Words by Leo Lawton, illustration by REN

M: I can’t write lyrics for shit, so it feels natural for me

And I suppose with the dark, almost gothic theme in

just to focus on the music itself… Maybe one day we’ll

your music, it makes sense that you write separately.

switch things up but for now it fits together well. M: Yeah, that’s why we never write in the same room. The Would it be right to describe your lyrics as

writing stage is completely isolated from each other until

observational, Verity? Considering how young you still

we go to record it which we obviously do together. On the

are, I was amazed at how profound your words are.

EP, which is coming out towards the end of November,

What’s your secret? What informs you the most as a

I did all the production as well just in my bedroom. I’m


lucky because my dad is a music teacher and so all the equipment has always been around. If I’m working alone,

V: I read a lot. Most of the lyrics I write come from

it feels more authentic to the sort of music we want to

the process of looking into something deeply, like how

produce. I added a lot of atmospheric sounds as well like

a relationship between two people operates in a story.

birdsong which was important in establishing our specific

You’re not always going to find inspiration in your daily


life, so I find it productive to read and find stuff to write about from books. I recently read Daniel Keyes’ ‘Flowers

As there are only two of you, how do you translate the

for Algernon’ which had an intense effect on me.

studio sound into the live performance?

And what about music?

V: So for a couple of shows we’ve done acoustic renditions with just the two of us. But we also sometimes

V: I listen to a lot of 90s music which also informs what

play with a bassist and a drummer. Finding a drummer

I write about. Two artists who I love are Fiona Apple and

was the most recent thing we did and was also what we

Mazzy Star. Female vocalists have always made a big

felt previously was missing the most from the live set up.

impression on me – these two especially because their

Because I’ve been singing at open mic nights since I was

lyrics are so strong and empowering.

a kid, I just love performing live. As I said before I’ve always been strangely focussed on music!

I can definitely hear a lot of Mazzy Star in your music. How about you Morgan?

I think mostly because there is an obvious contrast between your beautiful voice Verity and your more distorted guitar sound, Morgan.

M: All my live experience when I was younger came from playing battle of the bands at school, which was all with

M: I like to keep it quite dark. The first person who I pay

Verity. Technically we’ve been playing live for 4 years

the most attention to when it comes to songwriting is

or so, but never as No Windows until about a year ago.

Elliott Smith. I’m always coming back to him. He isn’t so

I’m always nervous even though I play it off like I’m not.

much of a sonic influence, as his stuff is very acoustic and

Luckily, I have a guitar to hide behind. If I didn’t have

that’s not the music we’re currently making, but when I

that I wouldn’t know where to put my hands!’

think about the core of a song, the chord progressions, the melodies etc, he is who I go to for inspiration. Like Verity,

V: I think the more shows we play the more comfortable

I’m also really into the 90’s thing. I suppose you call it

we’ll get. Recently I’ve been super confident on stage

grunge… If you take all of that, steer towards the right

mostly because I’m so familiar with the songs. Although

and spin around a few times, then I guess you’re left with

don’t expect any gaps between songs to be filled by

what we do!

talking… I hate speaking on stage!

A great analogy! I suppose sound and influence is never something you can pinpoint directly, but it feels like everything falls into place pretty naturally with the two of you. 55

N o iW n d o w s

Up until now, British folk musicians have always been

And then the show happens, and my brain is let free from

notoriously difficult to get along with. Nick Drake literally

all the stress from beforehand. For some reason I tend

turned his back on every audience in favour of performing

to drink way too quickly afterwards and I’m a bit of a

to the curtain. Whilst John Martyn was often found

mess for an hour… Eventually I cool off and the evening

grasping a half-shattered pint glass in the local boozer in


the search for the most martial opponent to tussle with. Aside from maybe having a bit too much to drink after a

What’s been going on for you since we last spoke?

show, Oscar Browne is the antidote to this long lineage of troublesome creatives. Full of crafty wit complemented by

I’ve just moved house to East Dulwich which is great as

his softy spoken view of life as a young musician, Oscar

it’s so close to my studio in Peckham. My friend Naima

is unremittingly wholesome and emotionally honest, much

and I set that up during lockdown. I’ve been using it a

like his music.

lot… I haven’t had tons of gigs which is nice for now as I can focus on writing. Although I have plenty of shows

Oscar’s music feels familiar and nostalgic, but not

coming up in October. I’m even driving down to the

in any predictable way. As a multi-instrumentalist,

Netherlands for a few gigs which will definitely be a

he is far more capable than the regular guitarist to


compose pieces of music which are sonically alternative whilst simultaneously retaining harmonic beauty. His

That’s cool, which shows are you playing out there?

compositions are carefully considered, and his lyrics are touchingly sensitive. I spoke to Oscar about his lengthy

Well its Left of the Dial festival. We are doing three shows

and diverse musical journey, aiming to get to the bottom

in a day which is going to be intense…

of how he traversed from a punk-rock guitar thrasher to a sentimental and introspective folk troubadour.

I think the first time I saw you play was with Jacob Slater back in 2019, and before then you guys were in

We caught up briefly after your set at the Grace a

the band Dead Pretties. You all must have been super

month ago or so, what a set!

young at that point.

Oh yeah, I remember. After I play a show my head’s kind

Our first gig as the Dead Pretties was at my 18th birthday

of lost somewhere!

party and Jacob was even a year younger than me. He’d come straight from the countryside to living in London,

Really? I get it before a show. I really struggle to focus

so he was basically 14! We were very young. I find it

on any conversation…

funny looking back at that because the music was so rock focussed. To be fair, what Jacob is doing now is quite

Yeah, I massively get that.

rocky as well. At the time I was listening to a lot of Nick Drake, so for me to be in a punk-rock band was quite bizarre. Although having said that, I still loved it.

o Wr d s b y L e o L a w t o n , i l u s t r a t i o n b y B r a d l e y J o n e s


Is that partly why you’ve begun writing and composing

My favourite guitarist is a guy called John Renbourn

your own music which is much more within the style of

who’s just amazing. And, of course, slightly later I got

British folk?

into Fairport Convention. I’m a huge fan of all the folkies.

Yeah, I mean it wasn’t as straightforward as that. My rock

John Martyn was an interesting character. Didn’t he

era with Dead Pretties ended because Jacob wanted it to

have his leg amputated from drinking way too much

end, and he also wanted to express himself musically in


a way that wasn’t so punky. For me, I’ve always written songs based around folky acoustic stuff, so when the

Yeah, a few years before he died. He was nuts. He used

bands which I’ve been in have ended or I’ve ended up

to go up to the biggest scariest bloke in the pub and just

leaving them, I’ve always tried to focus on my own

whack him on the head just to provoke a reaction. Think

writing. Lockdown was the first time where I had enough

he got stabbed a fair few times…

freedom to focus solely on that, and when I grew enough Did your taste ever cross the pond to Tom Waits and

confidence to throw myself into it fully.

Townes Van Zandt? I’m assuming that playing in Broadside Hacks also helped that side of your music develop in a more well-

I’ve been listening to Townes non-stop for the last couple

rounded way.

of months. He’s a recent discovery for me. I also went through a huge Tom Waits period. I get a lot of kicks from

It helped in many ways. Singing old folk songs in a group

cowboy music.

provided me with a sense of neutrality. I’d only ever before been part of a project which was one person’s baby

Feel like we could go down this rabbit hole all day.

rather than a collective of people who were singing songs

Let’s go back to your music. You were saying that when

which weren’t theirs. There is always an ego behind music

there’s an ego attached to a project, it’s difficult to

ownership, but that isn’t the case with Broadside Hacks.

find autonomy in your own musicianship. You’re now

It’s a lot freer, not to mention, super fun. Meeting loads of

playing with a band who all play your music. Do you

amazing musicians, like some of the players in Caroline,

manage to keep your ego out of that dynamic?

opened up a world of music and new personal connections. Good question. With my music, I really enjoy writing by Were you aware of traditional folk music before you

myself, and most of the songs which we play live were

started playing in that project?

written in lockdown. I couldn’t go into a rehearsal room or collaborate with others; I was just at home. I was

I’d always liked the 60s folk stuff. I’d listened to a few

picking up random instruments and creating melodies on

traditional folk guitarists, but my knowledge was pretty

them, many of which have now become songs which I’ll


eventually release. Because lockdown lasted for fucking ages, I wrote a lot of songs and figured out all the parts.

There was obviously an amazing British folk scene

So, there wasn’t really a lot of room for the others to write

during the 60s and 70s. I’m thinking of guitarists like

their own parts.

Bert Jansch, and bands like Fairport Convention etc. I started with Nick Drake and John Martyn, both of whom were really into Bert Jansch. So, I’ve kind of gone in reverse. Then with Broadside Hacks, we went back centuries, it was really cool.


O s c a r B ro w n e

Does it sound different live to how you’d imagined it

Eventually I gave up caring about that. All my friends

would sound in the studio?

write very personal lyrics, maybe even more so than me. So, I don’t feel self-conscious about it. It feels natural

I found myself listening to gentle music during the

now. I like keeping lyrics relatively simple. It doesn’t

pandemic, and some of the recordings are ridiculously

come naturally for me to write in metaphor, so my lyrics

soft and quiet. Everyone was looking inwards. Now it’s

are really whatever it is that comes into my head. I try not

a lot more outward and bigger sounding. There’s trumpet

to overthink anything.’

and cello now, which of course provide the music with a totally different sound.

What can we expect in the near future from you Oscar?

Your music feels very introspective, do you feel any

I’m not entirely sure how much I can share! Release wise,

difficulty releasing music which comes from that place

there will be something before the end of the year, but

of privacy?

we’re still working things out. I have a load of stuff ready to go so it’s an exciting time…

I haven’t thought about it… maybe I will now! As I was writing, I remember not being able to imagine showing my music to anyone else.

@ b


Artists Editors Sam Ford

Josh Whettingsteel

Writers Sam Ford

Elvis Thirlwell Dan Pare

Will Macnab

Eve Boothroyd Poppy Richler Al Mills

Reuben Cross Dirk Baart

Josh Whettingsteel Alisdair Grice Leo Lawton

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@soyoungmagazine (Twitter)

SoYoungMagazine (Facebook) soyoungmagazine (Instagram)

Josh Whettingsteel Ant Hamlyn

Claudia Bernardi Yulia Drobova

Sophie Vallance Cantor Gavin Shepherdson

Taehyoung Jeon (Maria) Cameron JL West

Melcher Oosterman Julie Alex

Kalisha Quinlan Wei Wu

Pat Thomas Ying Zeng elahny

Spencer Gabor REN

Bradley Jones

Photos for Collage Alexis Gross Jody Evans Ed Miles

Colin Matsui Rory Barnes

Special Thanks Hedi Slimane Al Mills

Jamie Ford

Cameron JL West Jack Reynolds

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